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In The Dark

September 12, 2011


Good morning. Last week, in a holiday-shortened week, the market experienced heightened volatility on both an inter-day and intra-day basis and closed lower on the week. The SPY was down 1.93 to close at 115.92 (1.6%), and had a low of 114.38 on Tuesday and a high of 120.94 (5.7% spread) on Thursday, before selling off solidly on Friday. The weakness was due to several factors, mainly news from Europe suggesting (due to local election results) that the party of Angela Merkel (strong supporters of European unity and help for struggling countries) was losing support.

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A Smörgåsbord of Issues

July 11, 2011


Good morning. Despite Friday’s surprise poor numbers from the Labor Department the SPY still managed a positive week, closing up .49 at 134.40 (.4%). That small move up maintained the very strong 5.6% move up from the week before, when really the market could have had some serious losses on Friday. The Thursday ADP numbers (private sector jobs) showed a very strong 157,000 advance, causing many to revise estimates of the governmental numbers on Friday to well over 100,000, and had many thinking the surprisingly bad number of May would be revised upward.

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My Email to the President

June 21, 2011


In lieu of an actual blog post this week, I am posting the email I recently sent to info@barackobama.com. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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Politics As Usual

November 1, 2010


Good morning. A very quiet finish to the market last week as the nation prepares to go to the polls this coming Tuesday. Someday someone will explain to me (officially) why elections are not held on a Sunday like in Europe, but I guess the unofficial reason that those in power really do not want big turnouts will suffice. This election, at least in Illinois, has been particularly nasty, with a lot of outside money entering the state (a lot due to the absurd Supreme Court ruling last year) that is virtually untraceable as to its real source.

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Mental Midgets and More

March 29, 2010


Good morning. Another quiet week in terms of volatility last week, but again the market did finish with a gain. The SPY was up fractionally again, gaining .61 to close at 116.58. At times, both Thursday and Friday, it looked like there was a chance of a real upside breakout, but late sell-offs dampened the mood. On Thursday, for instance, the SPY traded all the way up to 118.17 before closing near the day’s lows at 116.65. Normally that would be the sign of a tired market, but any attempt at a sell-off seems to be met by buyers below the market (at least so far).  The VIX was actually up on the week, although fractionally, closing up .82 to 17.77. If anything, the upward skew in the implied volatility going forward worsened, and it remains significantly more expensive, in terms of implied volatility, to buy far out protective puts than it does to buy anything near term. For example, in AT&T (trading $26.24), the January 25 puts of 2012 are trading for a 23 implied volatility vs. the near term April 26 options at a 15 implied volatility. I am not sure what sort of relative carnage or volatility spike the market is collectively expecting going forward, but it is sure priced in.

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